The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is the writing on the wall for the future of commercial mixers for home use?

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risenshine's picture
risenshine

Is the writing on the wall for the future of commercial mixers for home use?

I got to look at one of the new Hobart Legacy 20 quart mixers. I think the older "classic" series will become very sought after by home and semi-professional bakers. since they are "old technology".  It's sort of like the older cars that did not have the computers, the complex electrical systems, and most technically advanced new materials like plastics, and carbon fiber  etc. The Classics are made of Cast Iron, Machined steel castings, and hardened steel gears and shafts.. and are relatively simple mechanical systems.. Three speed.. not an electronically controlled , variable speed, circuit-board controlled this or that...

 

Modern materials and technology are nice but they can require more technical knowledge and skill to maintain. They have nice features, but I think for the home  or small business bakers, the classics will be the only ones that can be maintained and repaired "at home" at a reasonable price. There will be a time when parts are not available through Hobart, but there will be used parts as we see now and aftermarket companies will meet demands.

Does anybody else get this sense too?

 

Long Live the Classics!!

mixinator's picture
mixinator

Does anybody else get this sense too?

With a 20-quart capacity and at $5,000US I don't see it taking off with home bakers.

risenshine's picture
risenshine

I may have worded my thoughts poorly.. it was more a lament to the passing of an era of quality

I was thinking we are seeing the end of an era in the passing of the "classic" series of mixers. As they get older, and fall out of repair, or their price becomes unaffordable to the small business or "home businesses" we will not have the fortune of owning commercial mixers of this quality. As of now, you can still find "deals" that are not much more than the top end of the consumer grade mixers.

 It's the continual march towards low quality, high turn-over items instead of building something of quality and durability. I think Hobart changed the design, not to offer a better mixer, but to offer a mixer they can build in a price range professionals can afford. The labor intensive machining on the old Classics is impressive and probably would cost more than the new model to produce today.  The new 20 QT RUNS 5 - 6 thousand as it is.

 

 

johnr55's picture
johnr55

In the 80's, I bought a classic old Sunbeam Mixmaster from the 40's at a thrift shop.  I had it rebuilt locally by a very old man who was practicing a dying art--that of repair of small appliances and electrical equipment.  By the time he had the motor re-brushed, all the old oil and gunk removed, and completely disassembled and thoroughly cleaned, it ran (though still worn-looking) as well as the day it was purchased.  At that time, and still, I was a Bosch user and didn't realize that these old Sunbeams were special--only a generation later all the metal gearing had been replaced by plastics that have broken up in old age, electronic controls that aren't repairable will kill a machine, etc.  I gave that machine away 20 years ago to a young mother; her children are now grown, and she still uses that Mixmaster at least weekly.  I don't know about my DLX, but I do know that Bosch mixers from the UM3 on are able to be completely rebuilt.  I have owned Vitamix machines since the 80's; it's why my VM now is a completely mechanical model.  In tomorrow's world, probably after I'm dead, there will have to be a return to daily-use machines that can be repaired.  There will simply be far too much waste in the world to do otherwise.

pambakesbread's picture
pambakesbread

Hi I can double down on that. I recently purchased a Hobart 12qt and I love it. It has the strength to do anything. It is quiet -quieter than my new Kitchen Aid which sounds something like a grass mower put in the dryer. I found mine on Ebay (where else) and it turned out to be a great purchase. Look around I spent months on the site trying to get one that did not look as if it had fought in WW1. These were built to last and last.

The engineering is great and they have stood the test of time. I like the simple manual knobs and timer. I can't use my cell phone that #@4%%! is smarter than I am so hands on technology is very welcomed. Hobe-wan and I do a lot of work and he just sings. Can a person fall for a machine? Hey a lot of Guys like sports cars so why not. I just purchased a Grill Dome because after 3 years of playing with the idea of a Tuscan Oven (which I wanted desperately) the new regulations of the City I live in made it economically impossible. I am hoping that the Grill Dome will be a good alternative. I bought a Red one, of course, and am soliciting names for him. Pam

clearlyanidiot's picture
clearlyanidiot

Technology changes. While there is something to be said for old technology in that it can be worked on by less than factory trained technicians, a good initial design/planned obsolescence can be a good thing. 

Yesterday evening I got around to looking at what I need to do on my Toledo mixer, and while on a level it's nice that to spite being used as a lawn ornament for years, it still ran, but the amount of running around I'll end up doing to patch it back together is going to be far more than most "bakers" are going to want to do. 

Having the option to work on equipment and actually doing so, are two different things. I can see Hobart trying to phase out some machines by dropping parts, but I agree that the after market segment would just step in and fill the void. Having said that, my A200, which made it through more than a decade of Tim Hortons mixing, only showed the faintest wear internally. For many bakers, myself included, one of these machines could conceivably last a lifetime.

On another front, "good enough" mixers seem to be becoming more common. A junior employee decided to mix a full batch of pizza dough at a greasy spoon restaurant one town over, broke a shaft, the owner just decided to scrap the mixer for a cheaper brand. If it breaks it will suffer the same fate. A mixer to most people is just an appliance, if it fails, it's usually cheaper/less of a headache to just buy a new one.

risenshine's picture
risenshine

I think you are right... the fate of many of these mixers.. at least the ones that were ab-used in an industrial setting, is not very good since it costs so much for the second owner to repair them. I know, in a one million dollar store, a five thousand dollar mixer is an expendable item. Its a shame, because if they would not overload them, and maintain them they would probably never wear out.

pambakesbread  - Yes, they are quiet. My a200 makes less noise than my n50. The 50 does need a gear changed and new grease.. I just don't have the money right now, and will probably sell it before the 200... I'm in the habit now of every week I make a batch of dough.. keep it refrigerated, and just pull off a chunk, roll it out and pan "bake" it like a tortilla for sandwiches.. it also makes great pizza! I have yet to make a full loaf of bread with it because It will just go stale before I use it all...

That 200 does a much nicer job of kneading than the 50. I'm guessing it has something to do with stretching the dough over a longer distance? Not sure.. but I've gotten some beautiful dough from it.

clearlyanidiot's picture
clearlyanidiot

The cost of downtime is so high, the markup on products high enough that running equipment, hard, until it drops amortizes the price down to pennies per batch mixed.

Training staff not to abuse equipment, or kicking a couple dollars per year into preventative maintenance that would keep the mixer running indefinitely just isn't worth it to some owners. Money now. Vs. Expense later and all that.

A little off topic, but how long do you usually mix a given batch size for in your A200?

risenshine's picture
risenshine

The formula I'm using is for a simple baguette dough. I'm working on modifications with it and make batches of about 650 grams ( flour). So they are small batches for an A 200. To get a smooth window pane... it takes about 8 minutes on speed 2. I autolyse (sp?) it for 12 hours or more from the day before.. then mix the yeast/ salt in during the mixing/ kneading. I'm getting a beautifully smooth dough now that I'm getting a sense of the right amount of water needed.

I've been keeping it sealed, in my fridge and use it for pan "baked" breads like a pita.. I tear off a chuck, roll it out and have fresh bread for sandwiches from breakfast to dinner.. It also makes a great pizza dough... If I make a loaf, being I'm single, it goes stale too fast or I end up eating too much bread trying not to waste it. The "bread on demand" trick works well for me.. And that dough is good for a week.. the rise poops out a bit the last day or two, but the flavor is still good.